A Map of Signs and Scents is a collection of sixty poems by an acclaimed poet whose life and work span Middle Eastern and Western worlds, centuries past and the vivid present, the sweep of history and the intimacy of love. Born in Jordan in 1955, Amjad Nasser has lived and worked in Beirut, Cyprus, and London. His work reflects a nuanced view of the currents of history along which individual lives play out, putting him in conversation with such poets as C. P. Cavafy, Octavio Paz, and Derek Walcott. And yet, within his peripatetic life, Nasser has produced a corpus of work that, far from evoking the alienation possible in a life of motion, puts him in deep camaraderie with the world.
Through fresh translations by the award-winning poets Fady Joudah and Khaled Mattawa, readers will experience the fascinating evolution of Nasser’s style through his prolific, highly praised career, starting with samples of the rich textures and fertile symbolism of his 1979 debut Praise for Another Café. In selections from subsequent works such as Climbing the Mountain since Gilead, The Strangers Arrive, and Life like a Broken Tale, readers will trace Nasser’s work as it develops into a mature style that, while more precise and direct, confidently encompasses broad horizons.